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Long-Term Partnerships Could Help Bridge Global Surgical Gap By Training Surgeons, Skilled Health Care Professionals

STAT: I taught a non-MD to do brain surgery. This radical approach could solve the global surgeon shortage
Dilan Ellegala, neurosurgeon and founder of Madaktari Africa

“…Instead of focusing solely on treating those in need of medical care [during short-term medical missions], we need to build long-term partnerships in countries that will focus on training new surgeons and skilled health care officials. We can look to the Global Fund, which focuses on infectious diseases, as a model. Corporations and foundations have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into this organization to help end AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria as epidemics. … We need a Global Fund for Surgery. A coalition of corporations, nongovernmental organizations, and universities could help bridge the surgical gap, just as the Global Fund has done for infectious diseases. The focus for the Global Fund for Surgery should be first and foremost on teaching local doctors new skills. It needs to emphasize skills, not equipment, because these new surgeons will find ways to get equipment and technology on their own. Transferring stuff is easy. Transferring skills and knowledge, though, are truly lasting gifts” (4/19).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.